Ogygian, the oldest pensioner at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, KY, was euthanized Saturday, March 14, due to complications from colic. The son of the great Damascus was 32.
The Florida-bred Ogygian was the last of Old Friends's trio of flagship stallions that were returned to the United States from Japan in the early days of the organization. These include Sunshine Forever, who passed away in 2013, and Creator, who succumbed to colic on February 28 of this year.
Ogygian was repatriated in 2005 along with Breeders' Cup Champion Fraise, courtesy of Fraise's owner, Madeleine Paulson-Pickens.
Ogygian (Damascus – Gonfalon, Francis S) was considered one of the fastest runners of his generation. As a 2-year-old, he was unbeaten in three starts, including a stunning victory over champion sprinter Groovy in the 1985 Belmont Futurity (G1). As a 3-year old he vanquished the competition in the Riva Ridge Stakes, the Dwyer Stakes (G1) and Jerome Handicap (G1).
Trained by Jan Nerud, Ogygian won seven of his 10 starts and was undefeated in Grade 1 company. He retired with earnings of $455,520.
A homebred for Tartan Farms, Ogygian began his breeding career at Claiborne Farms in 1995 before relocating to East Stud in Japan. He sired 23 stakes winners, including such North American graded winners as D'Hallevant, Dice Dancer, Ramblin Guy, and Fly'n J Bryan.
A significant broodmare sire, he is the damsire of international juvenile champion Johannesburg, multiple Grade I winners Street Boss and Gygistar and multiple Grade II winner Friendly Island.
“When Ogygian first arrived, I received an unexpected phone call from turf writer Russ Harris,” said Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends. “He said to me, ‘I saw Secretariat and Seattle Slew and all the big races for several decades, and you, sir, have the greatest horse I ever laid eyes on.' I couldn't agree more.
“We are honored that Ogygian allowed us to care for him for these past 10 years,” Blowen added. “He was one-of-a-kind.”
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